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Arms Deal: Muslim Rights Group, MURIC Accuses FG Of Double Standard


By Ayo Balogun

A Non Political Muslim organization – The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has described the Federal government’s threat to withdraw its business investments from South Africa, due to seizure by its security agencies over $15 Million alleged arms cash as a “subtle blackmail”.

MURIC in its characteristic critical manner asked “where were you (FG) when MTN was milking us dry? where were you when poor workers were being forced to buy sim cards at the rate of N33,000 each?”, berating the once very expensive cards were presently readily available and sold as low as N50.00 and sometimes given out to subscribers free.

In a statement by its Director, Professor Lakin Akintola, MURIC affirmed  despite that the government understood the meaning of providing “a beneficial environment for South African companies like MTN, DSTV and a host of others to do business unhindered”, yet it looked the other way as they  exploited the Nigerian jamaheer (masses).

The group demanded for clarification on whether top Nigerian officials and members of the National Assembly use toll-free MTN sim cards and if Aso Rock recharges its MTN sims, arguing that the Nigerian leaders have allowed telecommunication service providers to skin the country to a pulp just because they enjoyed “toll-free calls 2-4-7!” It added Nigerians were “victims of divide et impera”

“Yet we cannot blame South African companies which did legitimate business in Nigeria unlike our own government which seeks to conduct illegal and clumsy transactions in a foreign land, a land whereexecutive impunity is taboo, a land where there are no sacred cows, a land that respects due process and the rule of law. Now the wind has
blown and we have seen the ruff of the hen. FG should stop leading Nigerians by the nose.

“Can FG really fight South Africa over this scandal? For instance, can FG ask Nigerians to boycott South African products? Will Nigerians support their government in this fight? The reality is that FG needs its citizens to fight South Africa. This is not likely with the current disconnect between the Nigerian rulers and the citizenry”, MURIC stressed.

The association posited for the FG to begin to demand Nigerians to boycott South African products was not a viable option, accusing of lacking the moral right to make such demand.

Calling for boycott of South African brands in Nigeria MURIC reasoned was like stepping on a “cobra’s tail”, given the large number of  jobless graduates, part of which is engaged by some of the South African multinationals.

The statement which noted that leaders command respect through refined and dignifying behavior,  “not taking the tax-payer’s money out through thebackdoor” which has already deleted the words ‘dignity’ and ‘integrity’ from FG’s vocabulary.

“Patriotism cannot be pushed down people’s throats, it flows naturally down the funnel of good leadership” MURIC insisted.

“Nigerians will be proud of their country when kleptomania in government circles becomes an alien culture; when there is respect for the rule of law; when 16 ceases to be higher than 19; when opposition figures, their vehicles and their aircraft enjoy freedom of movement; when the police give due respect to opposition governors and the judiciary; when theparty secretariats of the opposition are respected; when probity and accountability reigns.

“In fact, Nigerians are presently grateful to the South African authorities for exposing these illegal deals. Africans say everyday is for the thief, the owner has one day only and that single day is like D-day. This is what has happened” the Muslim right association confirmed.

The group which declared that Nigerians deserved respect as well as those who voted for President Goodluck Jonathan, lamented the Federal Government  was dehumanizing Nigerians by ignoring everyrequest for explanation when something went wrong.

It therefore asked “Has President Jonathan addressed Nigerians Over The First $9.3 Million? Has He Given Any Explanation On The New $5.7 Million? Where Is Our $20 Billion? Where Is Our $10 Billion? What Happened To Stella Oduah’s Armoured Cars?”

MURIC accused Federal Government  of impunity in each of the scandal cases, therefore stated it ,  “…must fight alone, reiterating that the cash involved in the alleged arms deal were not meant to better the lot of Nigerians. It said the government  excuse was a sheer afterthought while its warning was made in bad faith.

It also advised FG not to play the bully with South Africa, warning Nigeria was not in a position to adopt gunboat diplomacy, as well as not to walk its boycott threat due to its damaging backfiring.

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